We all attend a lot of concerts…my friends like music. And music was what you heard when Rhiannon Giddens hit the stage with her passionate heart thumping sound. She is quite unusual, because she has lived her music through her ancestors and her soul. Rhiannon writes songs that speak to a lost generation of artists who dissolved with the years and were never heard. She rekindles the fire in their lyrics and writes her soul felt reaction to songs of the past, and songs that need to be thought about, on a cerebral platform in order that time doesn’t mitigate their meaning.
Rhiannon has studied the history of her past and thoughtfully reconsidered “How will I present this message.” “Negro” woman forced to leave their virginity because of white man rape, and then defend the child and their lives for evermore. Her album includes an 1800’s advertisement for a “negro woman, strong and willing” to work for the white man. It’s insidious, and she exclaims just that in her introduction to the song, “At The Purchaser’s Option”. I do not want to hijack her ideas here…she takes and advertisement selling a “NEGRO WENCH” from August 12th/ 1800’s and turns it into a song that I cannot describe in words. “You can take my body, you can take my bones, You can take my blood but not my soul.”
What the hell. She is the real star of this era, so much vocal talent and ideas. Her album “Freedom Highway” is definitely worth a listen but, unlike some of the 78’s from the past some of the impact remains on her stage. She is a maestro extraordinaire and so is her band. We will be watching for her ~ Norm is the reason I noticed her in the first place.
Watch “Another Day Another Time.” Vote NDP.